As of mid-December, the most urgent consideration on the minds of those in the Night Entertainment / Hotel / Tourism industry has been the Omicron Variant of the Coronavirus-19. At that juncture, on hearing the word, 'Omicron', the Powers-That-Be in Thailand jumped on the Global Panic-Wagon and began re-implementing the tightening-down on travel and entertainment. (...cont'd below)
Once Thailand's and the world's most notorious Night Entertainment Area, Patpong Road has, belatedly, begun to reopen. With a large percentage of the Nitespots permanently closed, and the potential for additional closures due to the Omicron variant of the Coronavirus, Patpong Road, and the Night Entertainment Industry in general, is in peril of collapse.
The first to go in the Government's current wave of Corona-phobic hysteria was the cancellation of the Test-And-Go concession for arriving tourists. (Test-And-Go was a procedure where arriving tourists would test once for Covid-19, and proceed directly to their destination on receiving a negative Covid test result.) Today, the previous quarantine period has been re-implemented. Next was a clamp-down on those restaurants which functioned as 'Bar-Restaurants' (previously, the Government had allowed those Venues with restaurant licenses to resume selling alcoholic beverages. The 'unintended consequence' - at least in the Government's eyes, was -many Venues had restaurant licenses and bar licenses for their establishment, and took advantage of the restaurant license to resume the serving of alcohol in both functional areas; restaurant and bar).
Many in the Entertainment / Hotel / Restaurant business have questioned the wisdom of both of these Government measures - and for seemingly solid reasons. First, there is no statistical evidence that either Test-And-Go or the reopening of Bar-Restaurants (inclusive of Pubs) were the cause of the very limited surge in new, mostly Omicron cases - not to mention the lack of severity of those cases, and that the number of deaths due to Coronavirus (of all strains) has continued to drop. The second reason for questioning the Government's actions is -duh- it is hurting their businesses, and therefore the Nation's economy - for no statistically measurable reason.
The guidelines for activities within the Kingdom as promulgated on 27 October - and put into effect on 01 November, remain unchanged in the New Year, and are republished below, again this month :
Thailand’s Centre for COVID-19 Situation (CCSA) has decided to ease lockdown restrictions further by lifting the night-time curfew and the ban on serving alcoholic drinks in restaurants in Bangkok and some other provinces, effective November 1st.
The CCSA has also significantly reduced the number of the provinces in the “maximum and strict controlled areas” or the so-called “dark red” zone. The change includes Bangkok from November 1st, which coincides with the reopening of Thai borders to foreign arrivals.
Only in the new “dark red” zone, which now includes Chanthaburi, Tak, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Narathiwat, Pattani, Yala and Songkhla, where COVID-19 infections are still surging, the curfew from 11 pm to 3 am will remain in place, as the restriction has been lifted in Thailand’s remaining 70 provinces.
In this new “dark red” zone, half of state employees are required to work from home, while any gatherings of more than 50 people are prohibited. Sports venues can open until 10 pm, with no more than 25% of spectators allowed. Malls, markets and supermarkets can also open until 10pm.
According to the CCSA, Bangkok, Krabi, Phang-Nga and Phuket are the only provinces where alcoholic drinks may be served in eateries. Exception: A one-time New Year's Eve dispensation was made for drinking alcoholic beverages during the late night celebrations.
In provinces categorized as “under watch”, and in tourism “sandbox” provinces, most restrictions have been lifted. Businesses, entertainment, recreational activities and schools can resume as normal.
No pubs and bars in Thailand can reopen at this time.
(Note from us: The above is valid 'until further notice'. If you are planning to be out touring, please check for updates.)
The guidelines for processing visas to tour the Kingdom as promulgated on 27 October - and put into effect on 01 November, remain unchanged, and are republished below:
The Certificate of Entry (COE) previously required by the Thai Government (https://tp.consular.go.th/) - which was issued by your nearest Thai Embassy or Consulate - has been replaced by a shortened checklist shown below as of the beginning of November 2021 :
* Travellers from eligible countries / territories only. (See below listing.)
* Exempted from quarantine after testing negative for COVID-19 (RT-PCR) after arrival in Thailand.
* Travel from a port of departure in eligible country / territory and have stayed in eligible countries / territories for at least 21 consecutive days.
(Check for any updates to the list of eligible countries / territories at the time you plan to travel').
* Fully vaccinated against COVID-19 no less than 14 days before travelling.
* Obtain a negative COVID-19 test result (RT-PCR), issued within 72 hours before travelling.
* Thai Visa
* Certificate of Vaccination
* Paid AQ / SHA+ hotel reservation confirmation (for the duration of 1 day and including the fee for one RT-PCR test)
* Insurance with minimum coverage of 50,000 USD
Eligible Countries Listing Remains Unchanged
Note: The 'normal' procedure for the "Thailand Pass" (Test & Go) in use previously has been suspended : Expats arriving in Thailand with documents (discussed above) in order, to include Non-Immigrant-O visas for Retirement are required to quarantine at a government approved hotel at their own expense, and obtain Covid insurance, which costs from Baht 3,000 for the duration of the visa. A test for Covid is still required on arrival, and once again prior to leaving quarantine.
Thailand experienced a continuing linear reduction of new cases during the first part of December 2021. However we have seen a rise (only slightly to date) due to the Omicron Strain of the Coronavirus and the Holiday Season at the end of the month and the beginning of January 2022. It has been predicted (by those in authority who are usually wrong) that the new strain will plateau in the near future, providing once again, lower numbers into February 2022. This is a "Wait-And-See" item; we will continue to monitor and report.
In summation : Thailand (as with the rest of the globe) can expect a new Covid variant every 2 or 3 months - it is not a reasonable assumption that the Omicron variant will be the last. While each new variant must be monitored, a reversion to failed Lockdown Policies should be resolutely avoided. It has long been statistically evident that lockdowns don't work; further, eventually all lockdowns will have to end, and every country will have to pay the piper (and those individuals who have been vaccinated will pay less). If we are to evaluate the effect of the current Omicron variant -to date-, we can legitimately say that it is rapidly spreading herd immunity faster than other variants or vaccines - in spite of the lockdowns, due to it's being highly contageous while almost always having only mild symptoms. This fact needs to be taken into consideration when those in Authority are managing the virus through unnecessarily restricting international travel, imposing unnecessary insurance requirements, and restricting some safer types of entertainment.
Anti-Vaxers take note : (A repeat from last month's issue) - this is not about politics or your personal right to choose - if you are planning to travel to Thailand, to enjoy its resurgent Nightlife, you will need to be immunized. Currently, masks are worn outdoors and on public transportation and in public buildings and stores and shops. Hand sanitation gels / alcohol sprays are used when entering public buildings, transportation and shops. Masks are not worn once seated in restaurants. 'Social distancing' is technically observed, however at a practical level, it cannot be implemented - examples: on busses, in crowded supermarkets, etc.
READER : Sirs,
Did I already send the below to you? It dawns on me that the Omicron strain of Coronavirus is actually the best vaccine. It has, across the board - mild side effects, it kills less people than the current vaccines have killed, the acquired immunity is better, it propagates faster than vaccines can be administered, and hastens-herd immunity globally. ....
There is, so far, no substantial evidence to the contrary in what you are saying. It appears much of the world continues to believe that hiding from the Virus (lockdowns) is the way out of the Pandemic, whereas, in fact, herd immunity is the only way. We can reasonably expect to get a new variant every 2 to 3 months, we can't continue to perpetuate this new Dark Age by working ourselves up into a tizzy with every new variant that comes along. Proven medical / epidemiological management protocols (rather than useless lockdowns) are the only acceptable way forward.
....The Chez Eve bar that was on New Road in the 1950s and is said to have inspired the Bamboo Bar at the Oriental, I have tracked down that picture of it from 1956 and I am attaching it herewith. The sign is visible on the right of the picture. ... Some additional information on the Chez Eve appeared in the interview in the Big Chilli (by Maxmilian Wechsler), where it is also named as the 'Champagne Room' : "I also used to go (1958-1959) to the Champagne Room nightclub (Chez Eve Club) at the corner of Suriwongse Road and New Road." - Narinder Sachdev ('Italics' above added for purposes of attribution.) MIDNITE HOUR:
The Chez Eve Club - another serendipitous find ! Not only is it a rare photo in it's own right, but it turns back the clock on when New Road sported Night Entertainment Venues. A great boost to our project on documenting the New Road Night Entertainment Area (mentioned in earlier issues). This gives us at Midnite Hour more homework - a lot more... By 1964 the Champagne Room had moved a couple of doors down - into Customs House Lane - becoming the 'New' Champagne Room. (We hope to confirm the details on these two Venues in the near future.) Many thanks - a true gem from the past.
I was wondering if I could ask you a couple of questions about your post related to Maurice Rocco? I am researching his life, and would love to chat.
My knowledge of the Maurice Rocco story is most superficial, having come from Internet sources, and a few newspaper clippings advertising his performing at the Oriental Hotel's Bamboo Bar. After attempting to assimilate as much as the Internet currently has on him, I distilled it into a brief thumbnail that appeared on my website with the ad (see photo above). Regretfully, I won't be able to add anything more than that. Should I find additional information on him or his case in old newspaper / magazine clippings, I will forward to you.
Patpong 1 Road is the last of Bangkok's expat Night Entertainment Areas to show signs of reopening. Once upon a time, it was the epicenter of Night Entertainment on this planet, however, due to succeeding waves of Coronavirus sweeping the globe, it had been closed down, reopened and then closed again - many establishments having permanently gone out of business. This month the King's Group has reopened the King's Castle (if only for outside serving). They are preparing to likewise reopen the King's Castle 1 and the King's Castle 2. The Group has also reopened the Tip Top restaurant - which is now functioning as an outdoor (kerbside) bar beer - replete with their own 'Happy Hour'.
Top : The King's Castle is now serving kerbside - suds available. Below : The King's Castke 1 & King's Castle 2 (lights on) are also preparing to reopen... Wish them bonne chance in these trying times...
Venues open December 2021 through 1 January 2022 :
*King's Castle - OPEN
*Tip Top - OPEN
*Shenanigans - REMAINS OPEN - (facing Suriwong Road)
*Unnamed massage parlor - (Last known name: "Thai Lady".) - REMAINS OPEN - Upstairs above Thigh Bar
The unique upstairs Black Pagoda has quietly reopened, and the regulars are trickling back in. Let the good times roll... Should you be visiting, you may also want to stop by at the 2nd level Patpong Museum, now also open.
Venues in transition December 2021 through 1 January 2022 : We note a large number of Night Entertainment Venues have reopened, many (such as A Go-Go bars) only partially so, awaiting further Governmental approval to fully open.
*Bada Bing - REOPEN
*Patpong Cafe - REOPEN
*Black Pagoda - REOPEN
*Patpong Museum - REOPEN
*Dream Boy Bangkok - REMAINS OPEN
*M Nine Bar Lounge Karaoke - REOPEN - Up on the ramp.
*Qeen 501 Studio Bar - REOPEN - Up on the ramp.
*Swing Club - REOPEN - Up on the ramp.
*Hotmale - REOPEN - Up on the ramp.
*The World (Linda's Place) - REOPEN - Up on the ramp.
*Three Ladys Cocktail Lounge - REOPEN - Up on the ramp.
*Fresh Boys - REOPEN - Up on the ramp.
*Bar Bar Fetish - REOPEN
*Triple XXX Lounge - REMAINS OPEN
*Crown Royal - REOPEN
*Vinai's Bar - REOPEN
*Tavern Three Saloon - REOPEN
*Top Light Bar - REOPEN
*Old Other Office Bar - REOPEN
*Pinocchio's Club - REOPEN
*69 Bar - REOPEN
*Pink Panther A Go-Go & Outdoor Bar Beer - REOPEN
*V.L. Gallery Beer Bar - REOPEN - On the Island
*Hotmale Bar Beer - REMAINS OPEN - On the Island
*Chicken Devine - REOPEN - On the Island
*An unnamed beer bar - CLOSED - REMOVED ...of long-standing, next to The Strip Bangkok
Soi Cowboy is slowly rising from the crypt - a number of Nitespots have opened their outside verandahs to full service (and in many cases, out into the Soi). See full listing, below. Inside service and A Go-Go are still proscribed, however. Exceptions to the rule - Five Star, the Oasis, Sam's 2000 and Spritz, which are open inside & outside. It remains to be seen how "open" the Soi remains after the New Year's Celebrations, however the below clips capture some of the building New Year's Eve frenzy -
Below (top) the Crazy House and sister bar Kazy Kozy blocked off the Soi 23 end of Soi Cowboy for a New Year's bash block party. Time to Rock 'n Roll... Below (lower) - a stretch of Soi Cowboy already fully operational. (Filmed 31 December 2021 / 21:45 hours.)
We saved 'the kicker' for last.... On New Year's Eve, entrance into Soi Cowboy required an ATK test - and if you didn't have evidence of a current test (less than 72 hours) you were required to take the test there on premises - prior to entry. Professional nurses administered the tests on the spot (after you purchased the Baht 120 test kit - also on premises). Well worth the money - just to witness life being breathed back into 'The 'Boy'. ATK test stations were found at the entrances on both Asoke and Soi 23. The kicker to the kicker is the tests were taken orally (saliva) rather than nasally (!?.) It remains to be seen if such testing prior to entrance will become 'policy'...
Venues opening this last month on Soi Cowboy, on or before 1 January 2022 :
*Crazy House & Kazy Kozy - REOPENED - Outdoor beer garden, temporary.
*Spritz - REOPENED
*Moonshine Joint - REOPENED - Outside only.
*Jungle Jim's - REOPENED - Outside only.
*Suzie Wong Bar - REOPENED - Outside only. [iejreij
The Government's concession to the Entertainment Industry over the New Year's regarding opening hours and temporary serving of alcoholic beverages has seen a number of Nitespots in Nana Plaza Night Entertainment Area reopen, partially or fully (see new list of recently reopened bars below). The big surprise is the reopening of the Erotica (photo below).
The Erotica has, after a long Covid-wait, opened in the Playskool digs on the ground level. As with most of the other bars, they are serving only outside on their verandah - at least for the short term. Erotica was previously located on the 2nd / 3rd level, but was taken over by Taxi Bar in September 2020. (The Taxi- now still Covid-closed.) Welcome Erotica back to the machine...
Venues in Nana Plaza that have reopened in December 2021, or on 1 January 2022.
*Big Dogs - REOPENED
*Nana Beer Garden - REOPENED
*Lucky Lukes - REOPENED
*Witchcraft - REOPENED
*Erotica - NEW - (Ex: Playskool) - Outside only
*Obsession - - REOPENED - Outdoor beer bar only.
*New Lollipop - REOPENED - Outside only.
** Remaining OPEN since last month: Morning Night, the Stumble Inn, the Kick Off, and Twister BKK - (which absorbed Shooter Bar)..
Going by the number of bars now open in Soi Katoey, it would be appropriate to say the Soi is now fully open (as, historically, there are usually one or two bars closed during any given month.) Judging by the level of activity, the Soi's regulars have returned...
SOI KATOEY (Silom Soi 4)
Venues that have transitioned in December 2021 through 1 January 2022.
The We For You bar is one of eleven new Night Entertainment Venues to be found in Soi 7 Plaza since we last published (last month). (!!) We For You occupy part of what previously was the Lucky Bar. Welcome to these neon sois...
Likewise, the new Twister 7 has opened in what was (a part of) the Together bar. This is most likely related to Twister BKK in Nana Plaza - we shall reconfirm before we chisel it in stone, however... Welcome them to this vale of tears...
'Big B' herself, once helmed the seminal Long Shots when it first opened in November 2019. She soon moved on, opening her own Big B's Bar a couple of stalls down. It later expanded to include a small attached 'karaoke' room. During the height of the Third Wave Coronavirus panic, she gave up her claim to Soi 7 Plaza real estate, only to almost immediately reopen where she now holds court. This last month, she opened (in addition to her regular digs reopened the month before) the Big B's Bar & Karaoke in the now-defunct Vietnamese restaurant. (See both locations on the map.) Don't you know what the night can do ?....
The Soi 7 Plaza is expanding rapidly while other Night Entertainment Areas are trying just to hold on to as much as they can. The only way to adequately communicate the rapid changes in this Nitespot Area is to continue to update their map. By the time you read this, there will be 32 Venues open for business, and more on the way... The below map survey was on 31 December 2021 / 01 January 2022. We also include the description of changes below.
SOI 7 PLAZA
Soi 7 Plaza Venues that transitioned on, or before 1 January 2022
GONE SINCE DECEMBER REPORT *Lucky Bar
*Aurora - (Was open only 1 month - a Wait & See item.)
*Grand Classic - (Original part only, other part remains open.) - Taken over by 789.
NEW THIS MONTH *Sky Bar - Was part of Lucky Bar.
*Chill Up 2 - Was part of Lucky Bar.
*(Bar w/ no sign) - Was part of Lucky Bar.
*We For You - Was part of Lucky Bar.
*Corner 7 - Was part of old Our Place
*Cindy's Bar - Was part of old Our Place
*Full Moon - Was part of old Our Place
*Boss - Was part of old Our Place
*Twister - Was part of old Together
*Big B's Bar & Karaoke - Was the Vietnamese Restaurant 'Phu Quoc Famous' - (The original Big B's Bar remains open at last month's location.)
RELOCATED IN-COMPOUND *Moonshine - Expanded into old Day & Nice.
Last month, Soi Dead Artists (Sukhumvit Soi 33) was showing signs of reopening, however many of those Nightspots were closed on our 01 January 2022 survey. It is likely many of those Venues were closed due to the New Year's Day holiday. Those venues that we find to have reopened on our upcoming 01 February survey will so be annotated. The only exceptions were the previously Covid-closedIkuiku 1919 Bangkok,, and the fauxS&M Demonia, both of which have reopened. Welcome them back to the puzzle factory.
SOI DEAD ARTIST
(Sukhumvit Soi 33)
Venues transitioning December 2021 through 1 January 2022 :
- CLOSED - S 33 Compact Hotel
*So Ra Japanese Karaone
- CLOSED & Gone - Sub-soi 4
This month Midnite Hour covers a few of the 'big name' Night Entertainment Venues from February 1965 - plus a couple of places of special interest - those that tend to leave behind 'historical footnotes'...
In February 1965 the Star Light Nightclub brought in another change in entertainment, this time Helen Harris from the U.S.A. However, there is no indication of the type of entertainment... The Star Light was a 'big player' in the New Road Night Entertainment Area in the '60's & early '70's.
Restaurateur Dolf Riks had a regular gig at the Nipa Hut preparing his popular "Rijstaffel" (Indonesian 'rice table'), but still managed to get over to Gaysorn Night Entertainment Area to throw together a Rijstaffel for the Domino. The Domino had a wide menu, long operating hours - and specifically welcoming waitresses...
February '65 also saw a changing of the (entertainment) guard at Sani Chateau - a new batch of entertainers from abroad (although we are not so sure where the Limbo Ettes came from...). Located in the Gaysorn Night Entertainment Area.
-A 'Golfer's Weekend' in 1965...
For those who liked a 'night out on the town', just not THIS town, there were a number of places within a couple hours' drive where a discreet evening (or weekend) could be enjoyed - to include the Saeng Thai Villa in Saraburi. Of course, this was not much different than today, but in 1965, it was most unusual to see such venues advertised in the daily newspapers....
The Holiday On Ice 1965 was not a "Nightlife Venue' in the traditional sense, however is worthy of mention as it was a major night time attraction in Bangkok for January - February 1965. Cinebuff historians take note: their included map locates some of the grand old theaters (King's, Queen's, Chalerm Krung - now no longer operating).
The Amarin Barber Salon was one of many such venues where 'massage' was available, much as with today's single-shophouse massage parlors that provide the gamut of services... Aimed at the day-time crowd - note the hours of operation.
Nguyen Tan Luc has been a 'street artist' / graffiti artist in and around Saigon for the last ten years. Much of his work is done as murals, that is to say, sanctioned (and not 'graffiti' per se) He has undertaken and provided support for many causes over those years, to include Aids awareness. He and his crew of fellow graff artists hope that through their works they will change the perception of street art / graffiti, and that the population will have a more open-minded view about graffiti.
We note that in Viet Nam, as well as elsewhere, the movement to 'gentrify' graffiti is pursued through attempts to 'blur the lines' - graffiti is now most often referred to as 'street art'. Likewise those doing the spray-painting are referred to as street 'artists' - with the emphasis on 'artist'. Their works are referred to as 'murals', while the 'artists' themselves are often 'contracted' to do public works or legitimate advertising - in addition to any actual graffiti they might be throwing up.
The Media are also complicit in this 'graffiti gentrification' process; while making sure to refer to the graffiti artists as 'street artists', they, at the same time, throw the word 'graffiti' into their presentations to comingle the legitimate with negative perceptions associated with graffiti -and, of course, to maintain 'edginess'. These Media presentations are careful to emphasize words such as 'beautification' and 'community'.
-'That which we call a rose By any other name...'
Nguyen Tan Luc's story has been carried in various Vietnamese media, to include Urbanist Vietnam and Saigoneer. A link to the full article as found in the Saigoneer can be found
Below is a selection of photos from the Saigoneer article.
Bangkok Eyes is an historically based news outlet, and as such, all graphic excerpts herein are considered, under current legal precedents and
prevailing interpretations, 'Fair Use' under Copyright Law. Copyright of any original artwork resides exclusively with the artists.
Bangkok's original site !
The MIDNITE HOUR Graffiti Page is prepared by Staff Contributor "Boge" Hartman.
(Boge's photo, above, is not a graffitiper-se, although there are those who have insinuated....